Thursday 2 December 2021

About Today Readings

Isaiah 26:1-6. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord – Psalm 117(118):1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27. Matthew 7:21, 24-27.

The wise man built his house on a rock

This verse in Matthew contains the most terrifying words in scripture. Theologians have debated it for millennia. I used to read it as anxiety-inducing proof that salvation could be called into question and Christ could somehow disown his followers. But instead, we might see it as a reminder that following Christ is indistinguishable from putting his words into practice. To me, that starts with loving God and loving one another. Those who knew Jesus on Earth were thankfully imperfect, broken and made numerous errors of judgment, even while following a flesh-and-blood Jesus. But this was OK. Christ sometimes had some hard words to say to wealthy, outwardly religious people who claimed to represent God, but had no care for the poor. Jesus seemed to desire not perfection, but sincerity. I like to balance this verse in Matthew with Luke 23:43, when a man – described only as a ‘criminal’ – was suffering the agony of crucifixion next to Christ. We know nothing about him except that he asked Christ to remember him when he came into his kingdom. Jesus replied: ‘Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise.’

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